Show 280: The Best Church of God!

The Best Church of God!

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Without church, many have asked for more community and fun in the atheist and freethinking community. This void is being filled in a unique and hilarious way by the Chicago based satirical performance group, “The Best Church of God.”  Join us for performance sketches and an interview by Sunsara Taylor with cast members of the group.

From the Best Church of God website:

“Historians will say the Best Church of God was founded in early 2008. The truth is, the BCOG started some 6,000 years ago when the Almighty created the earth (see the book of Genesis for accurate, irrefutable details). And while we are not the first to worship, fear, and consume the Lord, we are the first to do it correctly.

“We are a unique denomination of Christ-followers who believe in the absolute, literal, and unerring word of the Bible as set forth in the original English. The Lord has chosen the Best Church of God as His only official assembly of worship. Being the true Crusaders for Christ, we will stop at nothing to prove to the unbelievers that true faith requires no proof, convert the sinners to the morality only Christianity can provide, and smite those who stand in the way our blessed mission. In the war of religions, God is only on one side: ours. He told us so.”

Show 276: Ellery Schempp

“Upholding the Separation of Church and State” w/ Special Guest Ellery Schempp

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One of the most important topics for secularists and humanists is the separation of church and state. But it is important for all Americans because it prevents any one particular religion from taking control of the country. As we have seen however, church and state is not always kept separate. Luckily, we have individuals such as Ellery Schempp to defend the Establishment Claus of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Tonight, ETFF’s new edition, Matthew LaClair, will be interviewing Dr. Schempp, who was the primary student involved in the landmark Supreme Court case Abington School District v. Schempp in 1963 which declared that forced Bible reading in public schools was unconstitutional. Dr. Schempp, a physicist by trade, is also subject of the book, Ellery’s Protest: How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle over School Prayer, by Stephen D. Solomon.

Show 274: Morality Without Gods II: A Preview

Morality Without Gods II: A Preview

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This program, co-hosted by Sunsara Taylor and Paul Eckstein, was a preview of the following event:

Morality Without Gods: Part 2

Across the planet with unjust wars, uncertainty & convulsions in people’s lives, belief in gods and religion is rising.  Broad controversy and debate rages over god, atheism, faith, and science.  Last November, an overflow crowd came out at NYU for Morality Without Gods: Part 1.  Part 2 will focus on these three questions:

  • If you don’t believe in god, where do you get your morality from?
  • Why is science not just “another belief system”?
  • Could we/should we do away with belief in gods?

A review of the actual event can be found here.  A DVD-video of the event will become available shortly, and we will provide information on it via this website.

Show 269: Lori Lipman Brown On The Inauguration

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While many Americans are hoping for change with an Obama presidency, humanists and other nontheists are seeing the same old cow-towing to religious interests on Capitol Hill.  What does an inaugural invocation from the Reverend Rick Warren, who has compared same-sex marriage to incest and said he would never vote for an atheist, mean for Freethinking America?  Who will represent nontheists on the Inaugural dais?  And just how many members of Congress are hiding in the Nonbeliever Closet?  Michael O’Neil will discuss these issues and more with Lori Lipman Brown, Director of the Secular Coalition Of America, on the next Equal Time For Freethought.

Show 266: Morality without Gods: An Exchange!

One-Hour Fund Drive Special!

Morality without Gods: An Exchange!

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Has religion gotten out of hand; have we become truly Religulous?

Is religion itself really as dangerous as some now claim?

Can science and religion coexist in a healthy society?

And, what is the best way to defend science and democracy from fundamentalist religion?  Via a “militant atheist” critique of religion and religious believers (as with the “new atheists” both on the left and right), or via a sociopolitical and psychological analysis of religion in society and a holistic approach to making lives better?

Or both?

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Show 263: “After Atheism… Humanism?” A Chat with Mark Vernon

“After Atheism… Humanism?”

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In ‘After Atheism,’ Mark Vernon confronts the lust for certainty found in the dogmatism of conservative religion and militant science. He believes that a committed even passionate agnosticism is vital for the future of our planet and our souls. But how can you be an agnostic and why does it matters? The key to wisdom, Socrates said, is understanding one’s own ignorance. A similar thought lies at the heart of all good theology, since God is nothing if not unknown.

Teach Yourself Humanism‘ is a comprehensive guide to an important and diverse philosophy. Generally seeking to define itself not as a negative response to religion but as a practical and ethical way of life focusing on common human needs and seeking rational ways of solving human problems, this book will delve into the history and development of humanist thought and address the many questions that surround humanism today. Why is humanism important? Is it possible to ‘believe’ in humanism after Auschwitz? What implications does humanist thought have on our society as a whole and the way in which it is structured? How does humanism deal with birth, marriage and death?

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Show 262: Ann Druyan on Carl Sagan and Cosmos

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Contemplating the infinite; while firmly committed to defeating our bias, knowing ourselves and our universe through an evidence based lens- No one’s ever conveyed these essential ideas, more powerfully than the late Dr. Carl Sagan.

For 20 years Ann Druyan was married to astronomer Carl Sagan, and was a full partner in his mission to make science understandable and exciting for everyone. She was one of the writers for the television series Cosmos, and a producer of the feature film Contact. Ann Druyan is the CEO and co-founder of Cosmos Studios.

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Show 261a: “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide”

Part 1 of 2 of “Beyond the ‘New Atheism’: Religion and Politics Worldwide” w/ Ronald Inglehart and David Sloan Wilson.

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Seminal thinkers of the nineteenth century — Auguste Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud — all predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. The belief that religion was dying became the conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century.

During the last decade, however, the secularization thesis has experienced the most sustained challenge in its long history. Critics point to multiple indicators of religious health and vitality today, from the continued popularity of churchgoing in the United States, to the emergence of New Age spirituality in Western Europe, the surge of fundamentalist movements and Islamic parties in the Muslim world, the evangelical revival sweeping through Latin America, and the widespread ethno-religious conflicts in international affairs.

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Show 252: One-Hour Fund Drive Special: Celebrating Carlin!

One-Hour Fund Drive Special: Celebrating Carlin!

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George Carlin is famous in atheist circles for his outspoken critique of religion and religious faith. Overall, he seemed to view religion not only as pertaining to its false claims of the human condition – and of reality itself – but as Marx also viewed religion … ‘as the opiod of the masses.’ He viewed strong religious convictions, at least in regards to their affect on public policy, as one major reason so many Americans are apathetic to the real injustices done in our name by the State.

What fueled Carlin was his keen, if cynical, perspective on the power of power itself, and how we the people need to wake up to what is being done in our name and use critical thinking to bring about a more just society. With whatever one can say about Carlin’s take on human nature (it isn’t our best attribute, he might argue ;)), underneath the sardonic humor was at least a call to arms for the end of our class-based society and all the inequity within.

Carlin attacked conservatives and centrists (liberals) equally, and tried to take his audience a little to the left with every performance. Tonight we celebrate his legacy.